Some Thoughts on Tonight’s Game at Navy

The Bearcats Basketball Blog

Even though Navy returned just two starters from last year’s 3-win team, KenPom expects the Midshipmen to fare just fine against Binghamton (0-2) tonight, projecting Navy (1-1) as a winner in 86 percent of simulated matchups.

Jonathan Heisler/Photo Editor Senior Taylor Johnston shot 4-of-6 from three-point range against Brown on Sunday. He and the Bearcats will look for a strong long range performance at Navy tonight.

The Midshipmen have played just one game against a Division I opponent this year, and they lost in overtime on their home floor. That opponent, Siena, is a totally different team than Binghamton, though.

The Saints have a double-double machine in O.D. Anosike. The senior forward led the entire nation in rebounds per game last year, and he’s joined by a couple of other reliable bigs in the frontcourt. Binghamton is a much smaller team than Siena.

Binghamton and Navy should be somewhat of an even match in terms of size. The Midshipmen have a 6-foot-10 center, Jared Smoot, but Roland Brown has the body to bang with him down low. They also have a 6-foot-9 forward and two 6-foot-6 players.

The Bearcats have more weapons from long range than the Saints, who shot just 3-of-25 from three against Navy. Evan Hymes is a chucker, and Rob Poole shoots from long range frequently despite lacking accuracy. Binghamton generally plays 4-out, 1-in, with several players who can bury threes on the floor at once.

So while Siena’s poor shooting night at Navy must be somewhat attributable to the Midshipmen’s defense, Binghamton should be more successful tonight. Last year, Navy’s defense was above-average in turnover percentage, but the Midshipmen D ranked No. 333 in effective field goal percentage, No. 331 in two-point percentage and No. 307 in the all-important three-point percentage.

The Bearcats’ defense tends to surrender open three-pointers on occasion, but Navy, which shot 4-of-20 from three against Siena, converted just 28.1 percent of its shots from beyond the arc last season.

Of course, an open three is much easier to sink than a contested one, but when your opponent’s best long range shooter from a year ago hit just 28.6 percent of his attempts, you can live with the occasional good look from deep.

Binghamton will be bolstered by the return of freshman Jordan Reed, whose three-game suspension ended after Sunday’s game against Brown. Head coach Tommy Dempsey wouldn’t commit to starting Reed as of Sunday’s press conference, saying he would need to discuss the lineup with his staff. He did, however, say he would not rule out starting the freshman, whom he called the team’s best athlete and rebounder.